Posted 19 July 2011 by Aundrea Annin NASM CPT

Training For Women:

Functional but not Traditional

It is said, “The only constant in life, is change.” The fitness realm is no different, especially for women. Women’s fitness has progressed from step aerobics and “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” in the 80’s, to Nautilus equipment in the 90’s, to hot yoga and kettlebell training in the 2000’s. From leggings and fully clothed to the sports bra and showing off the “six pack,” women and fitness have changed and changed immensely. Today’s woman is not afraid of picking up a kettlebell, flipping a tire, or wielding a sledge hammer.

Years ago, most women would join a gym and only perform cardiovascular exercises such as biking or running on a treadmill. Although great for the heart, this alone does not create the lean, sculpted bodies women are wanting and displaying today. It was always thought that women should not lift weights because it would make them bulky and look like a man. Physiology-wise we know this to be impossible, however the stigma remained and most women would shy away from anything that weighed over 5 lbs.

The traditional routines would consist of high repetitions, usually 3 or 4 sets with 30-60 second rest periods. Cardio usually would precede strength training. Group fitness classes such as Body Pump or “15 minute abs” would have mostly female attendance. In some clubs you would have “Women’s Only,” areas, full of selectorized equipment and cardio.
Now, we have a collection of the fitness population that is not afraid of strength training and performing functional, dynamic movements…myself being one. We have women not only competing in the Crossfit games but in some cases out performing their male counterparts. Whether it be kettlebell swings for time, muscle ups, or flipping tires, women are competing and winning on an equal playing field to the opposite sex. Women are now doing what the guys do and in some instances, maybe better. This also is being shown on one of the most watched tv shows about weight loss…this being 'the Biggest Loser'. They have now started to incorporate ropes, prowlers, boxing, and my favorite, box jumps.

So what is it about non-traditional fitness that has become so appealing to the female gender?

Results! From kettlebells to chains on squat bars to pushing the prowler or my personal favorite flipping the 200 lbs tractor truck tire, these non-traditional exercise examples are creating fast results. The intensity and variety of these types of exercises challenge the body and achieve great results by provoking neurologic and hormonal adaptations across all metabolic pathways. To make a long story short, your body is constantly challenged in a nontraditional way; burning body fat, building muscle, and giving you the body of your dreams.

Here are some examples of nontraditional
exercises and their benefits:

Battling ropes

• Battling ropes - one the most effective methods of interval training. Battling ropes are one of the more effective ways of developing muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular conditioning and hand and arm speed. Interval training has shown to be one of the best ways of building strength and shedding body fat.


• Kettlebells - KBs are an efficient way to build strength and endurance for the entire body. Conditioning the body and challenging metabolic pathways to shed body fat and build muscle in a short amount of time.


• Prowler - The prowler is one of the best ways to sculpt the hips and thighs. Pushing weight as fast as you can, whether for time or for reps, will exhaust you and make you want to throw up. However, it will help you keep it interesting and get results fast. This being my personal favorite way to kick butt!

Through the years, fitness has progressed from the dark ages of nautilus equipment and step aerobics to more nontraditional ways of working out including pushing the prowler. More and more women have been pushing the envelope and working out in a non-traditional way and getting non-traditional results. Change is good, especially when it is great change for the body. As I always say, “Love Your Body.” contributing writer: Aundrea Annin - NASM CPT


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